Engineering professor wins $100,000 Air Force Young Investigator Award

Shashank Priya

Shashank Priya

BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 19, 2008 – The U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research has awarded Shashank Priya, associate professor of mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, a $100,000, three-year renewable grant to conduct basic research in the area of high-frequency electronic components, titled Domain Engineered Magnetoelectric Thin Films for High Sensitivity Resonant Magnetic Field Sensors.

Magnetoelectric thin films based structures comprising of piezoelectric and magnetostrictive composite layers can enhance the performance of current generation communication devices. The electronic components developed using magnetoelectric thin films for radars will be able to provide higher sensitivity and information while consuming less electrical power. In personal communication systems such as GPS, battery saving is a huge advantage, Priya said.

The grant is part of the Air Force’s Young Investigators Research Program (YIP) award. Priya was among 39 outstanding scientists and engineers who submitted winning YIP proposals this year. The program invests in various research fields with the goal of developing valuable products for the military and commercial market, according to the Air Force.

Priya taught at University of Texas at Arlington before joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 2007. He received his Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University in 2003 in materials engineering, a master’s degree from Indian Institute of Science in 2000, and his bachelor’s degree from Allahabad University in 1995.

Priya’s other areas of research include Micro Electro Mechanical Systems, artificial muscles, humanoids, lead-free piezoelectrics, energy harvesting, and unmanned underwater vehicles – known as “jellyfish.”